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Looking forward to the future on the Northside

Duane Jessome, unit manager at Northside General Hospital, signs a steel beam that will be erected in the new Northside Health Complex

With nearly 20 years working as a registered nurse, Duane Jessome’s message is simple, “treat people like family.”

Jessome has worked at Northside General Hospital (NSG) since graduating from nursing school in 1995. He was inspired to pursue nursing because his mother was a nurse at the NSG for 39 years. Since beginning his career, Jessome has worked in many areas with most of his time spent in the emergency department.

“I did some temp work in the intensive care unit at Cape Breton Regional Hospital, but in 1997 I came back to the Northside General and have been here ever since,” says Jessome “In 2012, I was asked to manage the emergency department for six weeks. Eleven years later, I’m still here.”

Jessome now manages the urgent treatment centre as well as ambulatory care, orthoptics and medical units at NSG. In this role, he’s been helping to plan the new Northside Health Complex as part of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) Health Care Redevelopment Project. The project on the Northside includes a new health centre, a 60-bed long-term care home, and a laundry facility.

“I can’t believe we are getting this huge gift of redevelopment, not only on the Northside but for all CBRM. It is like winning the lottery for our entire community,” says Jessome. “The team is different than any I have seen. Everyone is at the table to give their input, the input is then discussed and put into practice with the development of these new health facilities. Front line staff have participated in mock-ups of their new work areas to provide input about flow. This is amazing work. Our entire community is excited with the work that’s underway.”

As part of the project, the new health centre will include many of the services now available at the NSG, such as space for collaborative care teams, urgent care clinics, ambulatory care clinics, continuing care, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, renal dialysis, public health services, mental health and addictions programs, diagnostic imaging (x-ray and ultrasound), blood collection, endoscopy, 12 medical beds and more.

Jessome says it will help make the delivery of health services much more efficient and effective.

“This will bring the entire team into one building and make the delivery of services more effective for everyone. To bring all disciplines in under one roof in a state-of-the-art building is genius. I am excited for all local physicians to be in the same building with diagnostics, social workers, physio, and other health services all in one spot. I can’t wait to see the flow of everything.”

While Jessome looks forward to the future and what the new facilities will bring, he says his nursing career has always been full of opportunities.

“This profession is constantly changing and everyday it opens new opportunities for everyone. I have made lots of lifelong friends and have had the privilege of helping a lot of people in our community, which I think is the main reason most people are in this profession. I believe, if you make your work environment a happy, healthy place to work, your staff will be more productive, and your departments will run smoothly. I really think the new health care facilities will help with that.”

Jessome grew up in Florence, N.S. with his parents Dave and Jane. He now lives in Sydney Mines, N.S. with his wife Joeline, who he calls his soulmate, and their five boys Mitchell, Logen, Connor, Courtland and Quinn.

*Photo cutline: Duane Jessome, unit manager at Northside General Hospital, signs a steel beam that will be erected in the new Northside Health Complex. Nova Scotia Health staff, physicians, planning teams, construction teams and representatives from the Northside Harbourview Hospital Foundation were invited to sign a piece of steel to celebrate the project’s success to date.

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